Two of my favorite bloggers have written recently about the perils of allowing ourselves to be too busy.

Surely You Can Work a Little Harder, from John Stackhouse

Some of us need to work harder than we do. Students fool themselves, thinking they are “studying” when they are just hanging out with their friends with open books in front of them. Professors think they are working when they are merely chatting with colleagues or fussing about some minor matter of campus politics....Many of us, however, work harder than we should. For whatever reason, and there are a lot of possible reasons, we are pushing ourselves beyond the limits of our mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual health.....So let us hear some wisdom from a very hard-working Christian brother who flourished four centuries ago. His name is Vincent de Paul, and he was an astonishing minister for good in the church....Be careful to preserve your health. It is a trick of the devil, which he employs to deceive good souls, to incite them to do more than they are able, in order that they may no longer be able to do anything.

Many of us, and I count myself chief of sinners, need to heed both warnings:  do less and work harder.  Jennifer at Conversion Diary talks about natural limits and making choices in Thoughts on Letting Yourself Get Overbooked.

[A] good way to figure out how much God expects you to get done in a week is to attempt to do no more work than you could get done in a six-day week, during daylight hours only, allowing ample time throughout the days for prayer breaks and calm, nourishing meals.

I've been thinking about how much I use modern technology (mainly artificial light) to push myself way past these natural limits—how I abuse the fact that I can add more hours to a day or week simply by keeping the all lights on until midnight or blowing off Sunday as a day of rest—and I realize that I do it to keep myself from having to make painful choices about what I can and cannot realistically commit to.

When you live your life within the constraints [of the] natural, God-given work/rest rhythms of the days and weeks, you have buffer. There's some wiggle room in your schedule when urgent, unexpected situations arise. ....[T]he amount of work that I attempt to do in a week spills far over those natural borders of how much one should work, but it all turns out fine and I can maintain the illusion of control...as long as nothing goes wrong. As long as everyone is healthy and there are no emergencies, I can get it all done without too much stress. But...when the slightest thing does go wrong, like a juggler who's barely able to handle all the balls he has in the air, it all comes crashing down.

Make wise choices and live within your limits, or your world will come crashing down.  Sound advice for time or money.  It doesn't guarantee financial security—as we have so dramatically seen, the wise and prudent can be hurt badly by other people's foolish choices—and it won't fix all our time problems, either.  But it's the right path, and the most sane.
Posted by sursumcorda on Wednesday, March 4, 2009 at 6:19 am | Edit
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